The ‘Caronte’ hall in the Dante hotel was the venue for the AEHT General Assembly on October 8th at 9.00 am, being the 28th such Assembly. Before a relatively sparse audience, President Ana Paula Pais was flanked by her Vice-Presidents Neeme Rand, Herman Siebens, Klaus Enengl, Bogusia Piénkowska, General Secretary Nadine Schintgen and her deputy Xavier Thien; Vice-President Remco Koerts was not present, being otherwise engaged with the competitions.
Before moving on to the agenda proper, Ana Paula Pais announced that Natalia Komanicka was temporarily unavailable through illness, but that ‘we are expecting her to return to her post of interpreter once she has recovered’. Moreover Klaus Enengl recalled with emotion the passing of former Vice-President Adolf Steindl who had been a member of the AEHT for 20 years, and had created the management competition. ‘We will miss you Adolf,’ said Klaus Enengl, asking for a minute’s silence in memory of Adolf.
The minutes of the 2014 General Assembly held in Belgrade were unanimously adopted as a true record of that meeting. In a broad review of the activities in 2014/2015, the President mentioned the search for sponsors and the partnership with the Luxembourg government which was due to end in 2015, although a meeting was scheduled to discuss the possible renewal of this partnership for a further three years. A meeting had been held in Montenegro in July.
Speaking on behalf of his colleague Remco Koerts who had sent his apologies, Klaus Enengl took great pleasure in presenting to the Assembly the Trophy awarded to the AEHT by the Costa company in recognition of the fact that the AEHT had been the largest group to have travelled with the cruise company in 2013.
He announced that a new organisation was in place to enable us to reach the highest standard in the area of competitions. Thus the head judges were now invited to the preparatory meetings, ‘a small perk for them’. Moreover, Klaus Enengl announced that the AEHT was seeking to broaden the panel of judges to include those from more countries.
As for teacher placements, Bogusia Piénkowska, who is responsible for this aspect, spoke of the Portuguese network (Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra, Funchal) and the placement of Polish, Slovenian and Finnish teachers. Finally, speaking of the AEHT own activities, she noted that there were fewer such activities but more participants: 250 in 2014, and almost 400 this year.
Herman Siebens was rather upset. His contacts with the Starwood Group had fallen through because the person in charge of the placements had left the group. He was therefore seeking an alternative.
He had run a workshop the previous day at which attendance had been sparse, and announced that he was already preparing the topic for the coming year. But he had not failed to notice, and to point out, that there was the same number of students as of teachers at his workshop. He therefore emphasised that this was a working session. And he asked himself: ‘Are the National Representatives doing their job? Why are the schools not finding this attractive? We must be more attractive, and you too can be AEHT ambassadors, there is a PR job to do here …’
For Neeme Rand, who is the Web specialist since his school manages the AEHT website together with Webmaster Ahti Paju, it was the first time that there had been a merger between the database and the registration form. Apparently this worked well. He announced further changes for next year, then projected onto a screen a series of graphs and tables to show the vitality of the website. Among the top ten most frequent visitors to the site, the winners were Italy, France and … Russia!
The financial report presented by Klaus Enengl did not raise any particular questions. The accounts had been certified by a Luxembourg accountancy firm and had been audited by Jürgen Clausen (member of a judging panel and so absent from the General Assembly) and by Danièle Snauwaert. The report of this audit, read by Gérard Bender, nevertheless refers to a deficit. ‘It is becoming absolutely vital to find new sources of funding to compensate for continuing losses …’ This report was adopted unanimously.
Concerning the membership situation Klaus Enengl announced that it would not be possible to register for the 2016 Annual Conference if the subscription had not been paid. He undertook to make contact with the schools in question to try to avoid excluding them, and was glad to announce three new re-admissions and 14 new memberships, some of them resulting from the President’s visit to a meeting of the AFLYTH, the French association of hotel and tourism schools. The Assembly resolved to place on standby a certain number of schools threatened with exclusion, and took note of a few resignations.
Ana Paula asked the entire Assembly to make an effort to find new schools. ‘We must share this pride but also this responsibility, this pleasure of being part of the AEHT,’ she said in conclusion.
All the reports were adopted unanimously.
As is customary, the schools with projects programmed for 2016 gave presentations of their events, and Alfio from Castel San Pietro gave his report in retrospect.
Next year the Annual Conference would take place from October 23rd to 28th 2016 at the Docklands Academy London. Aysegul Yesildaglar gave a comprehensive and most convincing presentation, supported by an equally convincing video. A meeting of the Executive Board and of the judges would take place in London from March 10th to 13th 2016.
Mojca announced that the bartender competition would take place in Bled from April 5th to 7th 2016.
In Maribor there would be a seminar on wines and spirits in September/October 2016; it was intended mainly for teachers and would take place in a completely new building, Helena proudly announced.
In 2016 Christmas in Europe would take place in San Benedetto del Tronto, but the precise dates had not yet been fixed.
Christmas in Europe 2015 would take place from 2nd to 8th December, announced General Secretary Nadine Schintgen, and Luxembourg would host delegations from 16 countries. Two European buffets would be held.
In Dubrovnik, Anton is offering a seminar entitled ‘Key skills for European hotel staff’ from December 5th to 10th 2015.’
In the Azores, in Ponte Delgada, there would be the ‘Ten Days Ten Chefs’ competition from June 23rd to July 2nd 2016. This is not the first time that Felipe has taken up this challenge!
Ana Paula pointed out that another festival devoted to chocolate would also take place in the Azores.
Marek from Prešov announced that the grand Eurocup contest for bartenders would take place from 11th to 14th November 2015.
In the Abruzzi, from May 5th to May 8th 2016, would be held the 6th international tourism competition and the 8th front office competition.
Renata Mytnik gave a very lively presentation of the ‘Cognac Embassy’ in Kosice, Slovakia.
The ‘Youth parliament’ would sit from May 4th to 10th in London, at the Docklands Academy London.
Last but not least, an American company based in Florida - BSG -Hospitality interns – in the persons of its President Rasheeda Butler and its Director Frank W. Butler, gave a succinct presentation of its programme which, for management students, consists of living for a year in the USA under exceptional conditions.
It was now 12.50 pm. The meeting had lasted almost four hours with a coffee break of around fifteen minutes. After that we certainly did justice to the lunch served at the IAL!